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I was solving a test and came across the following task

Don't get used to _____ spoiled all the time.

A) getting B) get C) to get D) to getting

I was sure that the correct answer should be A, but the textbook says that D is correct. I'm not a native speaker but doubled "to" seems a bit stange to me.

Could you please help me to figure out why that option is really correct (if of course it's true)? Thanks in advance!

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    None of those: E) being. – Weather Vane Feb 19 '18 at 21:48
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    @BlackandWhite it's a test question, the OP has no choice in options. Most of the tests we see are written in a way where the "best" choice isn't a choice at all... instead, they're working on testing specific things. Downvoting a question because the test question it's about doesn't have the "best" option makes little sense. – Catija Feb 19 '18 at 22:12
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    @DF I wouldn't point this out on other sites, it might be a simple typo. But as this is a site for learning english: it's spelled 'whether'. Not to be confused with 'weather' – lucidbrot Feb 20 '18 at 20:28
37

The doubled "to" is not English. The book is wrong.

[The "get" passive is English. Ignore the irrelevant comments].

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    This is absolutely correct, though I think the comment suggesting "being" is not entirely irrelevant. Idiomatically "being" is the word I'd expect to hear, and Google's ngram viewer supports that phrasing in English literature: books.google.com/ngrams/… – Darren Ringer Feb 20 '18 at 1:51
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    Yes the book is wrong! Though I find 'being' more idiomatic as well... – Jelila Feb 20 '18 at 9:01
  • I found this pdf file olymp.nes.ru/files/admissions%202016/et2016summer.pdf, see page 7, the answers are not included. I think you should say what would be the best answer if the typo did not exist. The "book is wrong" is not what I would call a "good" answer on a language site for learners. It's great as a comment but not much else. – Mari-Lou A Feb 20 '18 at 11:12
  • FWIW there would often, idiomatically, be another "to" .. followed by another "o" ... Don’t get too used to (getting|being) spoiled. – Will Crawford Feb 20 '18 at 19:48
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My guess is that there's a typo in the question itself. The test question should probably read:

Don't get used ______ spoiled all the time.

In this form, all four options make sense and they're testing whether you can recognize that the form "to getting" is necessary rather than just the bare "Don't get used getting spoiled all the time.

So, the answer is incorrect due to this small error, making A the correct answer (because the "to" is already included in the question text).

  • 2
    You might be right; but that seems perverse, because the idiom is used to, not used. – Colin Fine Feb 19 '18 at 22:36
  • @ColinFine Sure. There's an error somewhere... either the "to" in the question is superfluous or they picked the wrong answer... Both are pretty common errors. :/ – Catija Feb 19 '18 at 22:41
  • As someone who's done a lot of typing (like most of us here, probably), it's not hard to imagine someone missing the "to" in the question and selecting that answer – Nic Hartley Feb 20 '18 at 3:37
  • Good catch Catija, I think your guess is right. No way to prove it, but I like it better than the "wrong answer letter" explanation. – Oreo Feb 20 '18 at 12:18
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The phrase "Don't get used to to getting spoiled all the time." is incorrect English. It is the most obviously incorrect answer, since gerunds don't use an infinitive particle "to".

The phrase "Don't get used to getting spoiled all the time" Is correct grammar. The pattern is "used to (noun phrase)" where here the noun phrase is a gerund.

An infinitive would not be used here. (C is wrong). B is a trick, it hopes that you will think that "to" is a particle requiring a bare infinitive, B is also wrong.

but you may be better using "Don't get used to being spoiled all the time" (and avoiding the repetition of get)

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    As a native speaker, all the calls for using "being" instead of "getting" here baffle me. They carry different connotations, and someone using this sentence very likely intends the connotation of "getting" (receiving treatment from someone else) rather than that of "being" (just a passive state). Part of this is probably that, at least to many native speakers accustomed to use of the word "spoiled", it's not thought of as a participle but as a first-class adjective. – R.. Feb 21 '18 at 2:23
  • @R.. as another native speaker, "being" sounds better. If the sentence were "Don't get used to getting things for free" then "getting" fits better. Someone doesn't give you spoils,* instead, they spoil you. It is indeed a passive state because you are not doing anything yourself. "Spoilt" is a state someone can be in, not something they can get. – Baldrickk Feb 21 '18 at 14:46
  • * unless you are actually talking about someone giving you spoils, as in "spoils of war" in which case we are actually talking about objects. Not relevant to the question, but I thought I'd mention it regardless. – Baldrickk Feb 21 '18 at 14:48
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    @Baldrickk: "Getting spoiled" and "getting spoils" have completely different meanings. How widely used/idiomatic "spoiled" is probably varies by region/dialect. Where I grew up, it was widespread. "Being spoiled" has a sense of entitlement, feeling or acting as if you deserve things (especially things others don't have), etc. "Getting spoiled" has a sense of being excepted from rules, given things that others think you should have to work for, with an assumption that these things lead to "being spoiled". – R.. Feb 21 '18 at 15:59
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    I too find all the "being" comments surprising... To me, there's a definite distinction between being spoiled and getting spoiled. For example, grandchildren frequently "get spoiled" by visiting grandparents who bring them tons of gifts, however I wouldn't say that the child was "being" (acting) spoiled unless that child expected such treatment and misbehaved if they didn't receive it. Southeast US native speaker. (I DO agree that I'd avoid the double "get" if possible, but not if it meant using "being" in this context. Maybe this is just because we don't really use "spoilt" in the US...) – A C Feb 21 '18 at 17:31
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The test is wrong. Given the incomptetent composition of the proposition, the least objectionable poor English would be anwered by A. The individual that composed the proposition with 'get used' as part of the wording is likely over-paid. 'Getting spoiled' as a stative condition is acceptable as an attribute in vernacular conversation but generally, in proper English, should be reserved to fruits, vegetables and meats. I would have crossed out the entire test element and re-written it; preferably with 'Do not become accustomed to being spoiled...'

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